Actress Zoe Saldana, of Avatar fame, is going back into orbit in this summer's Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy.
In this week's issue of TIME, the star discusses why she likes movies set in space, her thoughts on what the future will be like and her favorite mix-tape songs. But even though playing the alien assassin-turned-hero Gamora took a lot of work (and a lot of early mornings in the make-up chair to achieve that green-skin look), Saldana says it wasn't her most grueling role.
For that, fans will have to look a little closer to Earth, to her first-ever film role, in 2000's Center Stage:
TIME: What’s more physically demanding, being a ballerina or being a superhero?
Saldana: A ballerina, for me. When I was growing up, I wanted it so bad and I knew that I was never going to be as good as I wanted to be. It was very disheartening and stressful when I used to dance. But I guess ballet sort of trained me for action.
I can see that.
And it’s fun, also because of being a girl. The fact that you’re able to kind of discover all the things that you can do if you commit to it, if you practice enough. You go, 'Oh my God, I can do this.' It makes you feel really empowered and encouraged.
Guardians of the Galaxy arrives in theaters Aug. 1.